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I survived the summer holidays!

This is definitely not a phrase I would ever have uttered as a child but it’s amazing how much your perspective of this time changes when you become a parent or more to the point a stay-at-home Mum. The angst that I would have felt as a child starting a new term of school, has been replaced by the delight of the thought of having a little routine back in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed spending more time with both children, honest!  We have had a very full and active six weeks, venturing between play dates, planned activities and two weeks of holiday time with ‘Daddy’ but I am more than ready for tomorrow – Ava is back at pre-school and I for one can’t wait! Ava for her part has a new pair of red shoes (one more year until she’ll be forced to have a pair of regulation black shoes), some new Princess Peppa wellie boots and some lovely memories of the summer to take back with her. By midday, I will no doubt miss the constant narrative that only a preschooler can provide.

At the beginning of the summer holidays I set myself a challenge to take at least one photograph of the children a day to capture the essence of what we were doing so I have put together a little montage of our summer holidays which includes a few firsts from the children. Ava has been to cookery class and gymnastics for the first time and has finally learnt how to ride her scooter. She has also gone down a fireman pole on her own and an enclosed slide (she’s always been afraid of the ‘dark’ slides). The achievement she is probably most proud of and is keen to show off at any opportunity, even if it’s in the middle of a supermarket, is being able to hop on one foot. Benjamin has dipped his feet in the sea for the first time, attended his first music and dance class and has acquired a few more teeth (and don’t we know it!). He can also now shake his head to indicate his displeasure at being served the wrong food or being given the wrong toy to play with. I’m sure saying the actual word ‘no’ will not be far behind.

On reflection I don’t remember my summer holidays being this fun. If only I were still the child rather than the one with the responsibility!

Summer Holidays Montage

Summer Holidays Montage

‘I Did It Mummy’ fundraising for BIBS – https://www.justgiving.com/IDidItMummy

 

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Does artistic talent run in the family?

If you ask my primary or even secondary school art teachers whether artistic talent runs in the family, then the answer is a firm no. I should probably say for those readers that don’t know, my mother is a professional artist and in her opinion I have always showed some promise but then when does a mother, who is usually your greatest fan ever say you can’t do something? Actually mine has. She made it quite clear from an early age (as did many others) that I couldn’t sing (I still mime when singing hymns at church weddings), dance (does swaying side to side count as a dance move?) or play a musical instrument (the flute saga when I was nine is one that will go down in family history), so maybe, just maybe there is a hidden talent.

It has taken me 33 years and two children later to decide to explore whether any talent exists and perhaps my desire to find out was more driven by my need to have some ‘me time’ and escape the Stay-at-home-Mum tag but whatever the reason, the ‘Living Social’ deal for a 5 hour art workshop popped into my inbox and I booked it.

I was relieved to discover that I could paint whatever I wanted to. I was never one to create something brilliant from a bowl of fruit and I’m not sure how I would fair with a nude model, even if it were David Beckham or George Clooney. So armed with my photograph of Half Dome at Yosemite (dating back to my 2007 road trip we took with my brother and his girlfriend) and my roll of paper towel (this is the equivalent of taking an apple in for your favourite teacher at art class, in that you automatically score bonus points for not using more of her supplies!), I embarked on my little adventure.

First step was to find the studio. I was assured there would be a balloon outside to point me in the right direction but hey this wasn’t a children’s birthday party and there was no balloon. I got the right building but there was clearly no health and safety assessment carried out in this house. I proceeded to open the wrong door and almost tripped down a flight of stairs into the basement. Thankfully nobody noticed my error and I entered the studio (cue picture).

My workspace

My workspace

The art teacher began by saying ‘anyone can paint and at the end of 5 hours you will have something brilliant’. Those that know me well, will know that I’m not the world’s greatest optimist so approached this task with my usually degree of pessimistic optimism in the hope that maybe I would produce something brilliant but wouldn’t be too disappointed if I didn’t. It turns out I haven’t changed that much since my student/work days – I still ask a ridiculous amount of questions acting as a thorn in the side of many a great teacher/manager. This teacher certainly nailed my character from the start and within about half an hour was encouraging me to throw caution to the wind and just paint. Three hours in and I had untensed my shoulders a little – afterall this was supposed to be fun. After 5 hours I could hardly call myself an expert but I am now familiar with blending and stippling as two techniques that I can use when painting with acrylics and I now know why ‘magic’ water, a hair dryer and masking tape are essential tools in the toolbox of an acrylic artist.

Skyline

Skyline

Mountains

Mountains

I’m not sure exactly what Andy was expecting when I got home and he isn’t one for dishing out the compliments in a situation like this but his first words were ‘wow, did you just stick the picture on the canvas?’. It has to be said I’m pretty chuffed with my achievement and much like when I first got my engagement ring on my finger, I spent the next few hours just looking at my painting and admiring it.

You may have noticed that the final artwork is missing from this post but I thought I would be a little cheeky! Part of my reason for writing this blog is to raise some money for BIBS so when I have got to £75 in donations, I’ll add a new post with the final painting! Here’s the link if you’d like to donate to this worthy cause – https://www.justgiving.com/IDidItMummy

Scaling new heights

It’s been at least two weeks since I posted anything about what the boy has been up to. Well okay some of you new readers will feel like it’s been five minutes but indulge me! While I have been taking my role as a Stay-at-home-Mum seriously, watching the Olympics and carting children between play dates and activities, Benjamin (or BenBen as I am starting to call him, as he says MaMa and the chances of him saying Benjamin before he is 3 is pretty remote) has been cultivating a couple of new skills of his own. This week I discovered that he can now scale the whole staircase (best not to shout at him while he’s half way up – this led to a quick look down, followed by a terrifying scream) and if you ask him where his head is, repeatedly, he will now show you! My little baby boy is fast transforming into a toddler and anyone who has been the proud owner of one of those knows exactly what that means, yes, TANTRUMS aren’t far away!

‘I Did It Mummy’ fundraising for BIBS – https://www.justgiving.com/IDidItMummy

1st Birthday cake DONE

Perhaps there is a little guilt behind the reason why I decided with the utmost stubbornness that I must without fail make my son his first birthday cake. This is not something I did the first time around for my daughter. On that occasion I found Costco was more than able to meet my needs. However tomorrow there will not be the first birthday party with the 50+ guests celebrating my son’s birthday. He will have to make do with Mummy, Daddy, big sis, Nana and Grandad (plus a Skype! session with his Uncle, Grandma and Grandpa who are currently residing in California). Of course I’d like to think that my daughter remembers all the fuss we made for her 1st birthday but I’m prepared to admit now that the party was more for me and there was a special reason that we wanted to thank a lot of people for what was one very challenging year ( have a look at this for more details – https://ididitmummy.com/please-support-bibs-babies-in-buscot-support/). Anyway as a stay-at-home Mum (one day I’ll get used to writing this as my ‘job’ on forms), I have fulfilled my duty and the cake is done and I’ve got to admit it’s turned out pretty well – so as the title of my blog says, ‘I Did It Mummy!’. To my 3 year old’s dismay the cake is not a George Pig cake which according to her was the wishes of her little brother. With her next birthday only a couple of months away, she can put in her request then and if I have got over the cake fatigue that has set in over the last couple of days, I may consider making her one too.

Helping Hand 1st Birthday Cake

Mummy’s Little Helper                                                      1st Birthday Cake

‘I Did It Mummy’ fundraising for BIBS – https://www.justgiving.com/IDidItMummy

 

Hello my blog space!

When I left full time employment 2 years ago (I can hardly believe that it has been that long), I knew that I didn’t want to lose the ability to write. As a bit of a marketeer I was very used to writing copy albeit pretty technical stuff for a largely business audience. I kept a diary of the first 50 days as a stay-at-home Mum (SAHM) but was never quite brave enough to publish it in the form of a blog and after 50 days one day started to roll into another. I haven’t gone back to look at what I wrote but if I find some interesting titbits I may share them here.

Following that 50 days I did get a little braver and wrote an essay entitled ‘The Gift of True Love’ which recounts the moment I knew I was truly loved and charts the premature birth of my daughter and the reactions of those closest to me. I submitted it for an anthology in the Reflections from Women series and believe it or not, it actually got published alongside only 30 other authors, more details of which can be found here – http://www.reflectionsfromwomen.com/the_moment_i_knew_book_2/our_authors. So I guess I could consider myself a published author. You can even buy a Kindle version of the book on Amazon for £8.84 – http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Moment-Knew-Reflections-ebook/dp/B0070OSITY/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1342122701&sr=8-7 I don’t get any commission on copies sold so not that much of a shameless plug!

Anyway since that tiny bit of success many friends have often asked are you going to write anything else? My usual response is well, maybe…so here it is my very first blog post…

‘I Did It Mummy’ fundraising for BIBS – https://www.justgiving.com/IDidItMummy

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